Stay Strong (and believe)
My name is Peter Gallinari. I am a recording artist (Keyboardist, Singer, Songwriter) originally from NY and now resides in Nashville. I also work for the government. Yes, two separate lives. I have been asked many times how I got involved in the music business and how did it start. It was and still is a journey. Always learning and taking the time to listen from others who know more than I do. As you go along this winding road of life, remember to always stay humble. You need to stay strong and believe in who you are and where you want to be, but never forget where you came from. You need to be the magic to make it happen. It doesn't just come to you.
Born and raised in Brooklyn NY. Italian boy living in Bensonhurst and Bayridge areas, this boy is the one who was picked on from the time I entered school right into my High School years. When I was born mom was told that there may have been something wrong with me in sense of proper motor skills. Well, I fooled them; I was walking at the age of 8 months old. But, over the years they saw that I really couldn’t run like the other kids. I was also very skinny with a narrow face and always had my mouth open. When I closed my mouth, you were still able to fit your hand in between the space. So yes, I guess I was a target for kids to make fun of. This was so hard and every day of my life as a kid was a struggle.
Finally, at the age of 21 a doctor in NY performed a free surgery on me and corrected my jaw. (First time this surgery was ever performed in the USA). The surgery was totally amazing and something I will never forget, but in the meantime, I was so damaged with a sense of low self-esteem and confidence in myself that it made it a daily struggle.
To regress back, in my teenage years I discovered I had talent. I could play keyboards and sing. This was my savior. (Never had any formal instructions) My senior year in high school the curtains opened, and I was the lead vocalist and keyboardist in one of the best rock bands in Brooklyn. Now suddenly you have friends, oh and girls that now want to at least say hi and have a conversation.
Moving forward now to my adult years I was developing a sense of confidence that I could do something, and something not everyone else can do. Still, I needed more. I would go to concerts and come home and cry in my studio room because I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t that person on stage performing. Since I was never a party person (Never drank, smoked or did drugs) I stayed in my little studio room and played and wrote songs.
In 1994 I met an amazing lady by the name of Angel Wallenda (Of the flying Wallenda’s – She walked the wire with a prosthetic leg). Without going into all this detail of how we met, I ended up writing a song for her which she used as her theme song for her shows. She also told me that I would make something out of myself with my music. At this point I was already in my mid 40’s and basically said “thank you” but I knew there was no chance of this ever happening.
Well in 1995, the USA was hit with its first terrorist attack on USA grounds. It was the Oklahoma City bombing disaster. I happen to be out that day at a rehearsal, and my family was out of town visiting family. I came home and turned on the TV and saw the news. There was one vision that really got to me, a fireman carrying this little child full of blood. So, I totally lost it. My children were out of town, and I had no way of just holding them. My next move was to go into my studio room and just write. That’s when my life changed. I wrote this song called ‘Tell Me Why’. The next morning, I received a phone call from my friend Pastor Tim who was the minister of a Baptist church in Croton Falls, NY. I would at times attend his services with my family and sing as part of his group. Pastor Tim says to me “did you hear what happen?” I replied yes and went on to tell him that I was so devastated by the whole thing. He then says, “you wrote a song”. I was speechless, and I said yes. He immediately came to my house, and I played the song for him. He started to cry and asked if I could come to his church and perform the song that coming Sunday. I was totally honored. Well, that Sunday we go to his church and notice there were newspaper people there and photographers. I had no idea what was going on. Only to find out that they were there to see me perform. Again, without all the details, the song reached Oklahoma. I was called by the largest radio station in Oklahoma to be interviewed, not knowing at the time I was the first to write a song. They interviewed me live on the air for over an hour and then played the song for the world to hear. At this point I was in every newspaper throughout the United States and TV stations calling me. It was so amazing and heartwarming to know that I was able to help those who had suffered with the loss of their loved ones. I gave the song to Oklahoma as my gift to them, and to use as they wished. This kicked off other songs that I had wrote and was recognized for. The Virginia Tech shooting was another event that was terrible. The Virginia Times asked for permission to use my lyrics for a memorial story and book for the students who had passed. The song was also aired. The Tsunami Disaster was another event that got to me, and India wrote me a letter to get permission to use the song in India. The Lady Senator in Arizona who was shot made me realize that things could happen to anyone at any time, and I wrote a song for her.
Now for my amazing opportunities performing and recording with Rock Stars who I admired growing up: “How one person can change your life”
In 2000 I was performing at a yearly house party in NY where many musicians would gather and spend the whole day playing music. It was just an amazing yearly event. I was approached by this man who said he liked the way I played and sang and wanted to hook me up with a well-known musician. He asked for my phone number and said he would get back to me. I basically blew him off knowing deep inside this wasn’t real and why would he be interested in this guy in his mid-forties. Amazingly, 3 months later I receive a phone call from this person who says he is stopping by and bringing a rock artist to meet me (and he did). He brought Richie Scarlet who is probably one of the best rock guitarists in the industry and who has recorded and performed in worldwide concerts with all the great ones. Richie comes to my house and finds me in a suite looking like a businessman lol. Richie is dressed all in black, with eyeliner and long black hair and all decked out like a rock star and just looks at me lol I can’t imagine what he thought lol. But he was gracious and said Eddie told me you could play and sing. So, we went into my studio room, and I performed for him. (Again, I am leaving out all the details around this and will move to where I am today).
Because of Richie, I have accomplished more than one can ever imagine from where I had come from. Performed and recorded with Leslie West and Mountain. Performed with artists of Alice Cooper, Toto, Kiss, Guns n Roses, Anton Fig (David letterman Drummer), Carmine Appice (Drummer – Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart), The Misfits and many other great artists that I highlight in my BIO. I happen to sound just like Dennis DeYoung of the band STYX. This reputation follows me no matter where I go. Which is not a bad thing. Dennis called me just recently and let me know how he was impressed. That was a special moment in my life. Hammond has also taken me under their wings and made me a part of the Hammond Family of artists which is a special recognition in the industry.
I take the opportunity to speak with young musicians to let them know that they need to keep their dreams going and at the same time have a little something on the side that you can do if this doesn’t work out (I know no one wants a plan B, but). Since I started my music career later in life, I was already established as a businessman on wall street. I have a background in Data Security, and I work for the government. Everyone at the government offices where I work totally love what I do.
The journey continues and there is still so much more to do. My sister taught me something that has always stuck with me. When I was down and out about thinking that I would never make it in music business, she reminded me that I was putting a monetary value on this to determine fame and musical success, but she set me straight and reminded me that my music had impacted so many lives to help them through their personal struggles. Wow, that hit me hard, and I finally grew up.
And even now, I have been blessed to be a part of history. A producer from California by the name of Paul Brewer contacted me in 2021 and asked if I would like to work on a track for an artist. I had no idea who this was for, until he tells me it’s a new song for the late Mary Wilson of the legendary group ‘The Supremes’. I was totally beside myself in amazement. I am now a part of a few songs for Mary Wilson one of which ‘Defender’ will have a major release on March 3rd, 2023 one day before her birthday. I am so honored about this great opportunity to be a selected few who made this song happen. You just never know when its your time.
Even with all that I had to go through growing up, it is absolutely nothing compared to so many people who struggle with disabilities and diseases and financial situations. I am so fortunate to have what I have today. My family, and a beautiful home here in Tennessee and foremost some great friends. I have no bitterness towards those who did what they did to me growing up. In fact, I used that energy in a positive way to help me with who I am today, and maybe it was just what I needed for me to make it to what I have achieved in my life.
I love performing and really love to write. Still going after my next opportunity in the music business. I am not waiting for it to come to me. I am going after it, just like I did to get through my struggles when I was a kid and teenager.
With all I went through, it has helped me to grow as a person both in my musical and business career. I have set goals and created my own set of principles to help get me through all types of situations. Maybe not always successful, but I do know that I have always put in my best effort to be successful which leads to no regrets. I never wanted anyone to ever feel sorry for me. There is nothing to be sorry for. Its life, and that’s all it is. We work with what God gave us, and we make it work.
My dream is to be able to walk away from my job and complete my life on this earth as a full-time musician. I am now 69 and its time to find that opportunity. It’s funny, I know I have been a rocker my who life (eyeliner and leather lol), but I have always wanted to perform/record/write with country artist like, Brad Paisley, and Keith Urban who I have always admired. I totally respect how they rock that guitar. I have had the opportunity to perform with some great rock guitarist, and I know these guys can totally hang. My music role has always been the guy that has supported others in their success. Which again, I am so grateful for. People have bugged me for years to get my CD completed and put myself out there… but we all know, this is not easy for anyone. I was never handed anything, I always earned it… hey, I was 44 years old before anyone in business even knew who I was 😊 We all dream, and there is nothing wrong in that.
Stay Strong and live your life..... Peter Gallinari
Facebook: Peter Gallinari